Well I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday. But before I get to the tech and travel news, I must comment on “The Decision”. Yes, I was among the 10 million people that watched LeBron James rip the heart of his own city when he announced his decision to play for the Miami Heat next year. Like many I feel terrible for Cavs fans and LeBron is diminished in my eyes. Not for the choice that he made. I mean hey, if I was a single, 25-year old mega-millionaire, I’d probably want to play with my two best friends and live in South Beach too. For LeBron South Beach won’t be eye-candy, it will be candy. And he’s the owner of the candy store (or at least COO with Dwayne Wade as CEO).
But what was unforgivable for me was the way that he manufactured the drama and built-up his own TV special when in fact the decision had been made days, if not months ago. I just can’t imagine that as an Ohio native that he didn’t understand just how his decision to leave would devastate the community and his fans…and how dragging out the process and announcing his decision on national TV would make the effect even worse. Jeff Van Gundy had it right on the broadcast when he said that the one thing he’d regret is not informing the Cavs of his decision before the broadcast. I think that Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert’s fantastic/unfortunate/comical “open letter to Cavs fans” is testament to that.
OK, on to this week’s curation.
- Everbread raises about $85M from Bessemer Ventures. I guess it pays to be named by Google as a competitor.
- YouTube Mobile goes HTML5. Seems as if the mobile web site beats the app, which seems to jive with Google’s strategy of moving towards a mobile web, rather than an apps.
- There has been a lot of talk about how Facebook could have an impact on the travel industry via their OpenGraph. Well Facebook made their first overt move into the travel space by acquiring NextStop, but then immediately shut it down. In all likelihood we’ll see the NextStop tech in another form, but it will continue to get interesting.
- Last week OpenAxis debuted, this week it’s the BLLA announcing the development of a new standard for defining boutique and lifestyle lodgings in hopes to level the distribution playing field with the large hotel chains.
- Very interesting stats on how people are using the iPad from Resolve Market Resarch. On a related note, Enterprise Irregular Jeff Nolan recants his original take on the iPad and notes that besides e-Readers, netbooks are getting smacked down in favor of iPads.
- Good sign for a future recovery: US Venture Capital fundraising is up 13%, although that’s still only half of what was raised in the first half of 2008, it’s moving in the right direction. And since emerging businesses are the real jobs engine in the country (many say small business, but really it’s new businesses), this is promising for the future.
- Continental re-ups their GDS relationship with Travelport through 2013. It’s interesting that CO is doing these kinds of deals with the merger with United scheduled to close later this year. I understand the urgency on Travelport’s part, but with another year on the existing deal, why did CO jump now? At some point doesn’t a merged CO-UA have to re-evaluate and re-negotiate these kinds of contracts?
- Next week is Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner conference in DC and Azure (Microsoft’s Cloud Computing platform) is supposed be front and center. Altimeter Group’s Ray Wang gives Microsoft partners some Azure rewards and risks to keep in mind while listening to the presentations at the conference.
- Just a week after OpenAxis is announced, American Airlines announces that it will be making all its optional services available exclusively through Farelogix.
- Two weeks in a row a major technology company buys a travel firm. This time it was Facebook buying Nextstop. At first there was speculation that this was Facebook first step into the travel sector to keep up with Google and Apple, as had been rumored after they unfurled their OpenGraph at f8 in April. But according to TechCrunch it looks like perhaps they’re just accumulating talent.